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Jacob Rees-Mogg Accuses PM Of Breaking His Word Over Scrapped EU Law Deadline

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Senior Tory backbenchers, including the former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, have expressed unhappiness with the government’s decision to remove the deadline for eliminating thousands of EU laws. Rees-Mogg believes that, by scrapping the laws, inflation would come down and the U.K.’s competitiveness would improve. Impact’s Hannah Walton-Hughes reports.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP and former Business Secretary has accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of breaking his word by abandoning targets originally included in the Retained EU Law Bill. 

The bill was introduced during Liz Truss’ time in No.10. It meant that most EU laws would expire after December 2023, with the exception of laws that ministers wished to retain or replace. A ‘sunset-clause’ was initially applied, which meant that any law not already reviewed by the government would be deleted.

the deadline could mistakenly lead to vital legislation being scrapped

One of Rishi Sunak’s campaign videos when running for the Conservative leadership in the summer pictured these laws being shredded.

When Britain left the European Union, around 4,800 of said laws were incorporated into UK law, in order to reduce any disruption that could be faced by businesses.

The decision to set the December 2023 target was criticised widely by opposition parties, environmental groups, campaign groups and trade unions, who expressed worries that the deadline could mistakenly lead to vital legislation being scrapped.

Following the change of course, Kemi Badenoch, the current Business Secretary, has justified the decision that the government has made, claiming that this did not detract from moving away from the EU. She described it as “a change of approach” as opposed to a change in policy.

Mark Francois MP described the decision as a “massive climbdown”

The new changes include the ‘cut-off point’ being replaced by a target of 600 laws that the government wants to be replaced by the end of 2023. However, they have expressed hopes that this will in fact exceed 2,000. 

Such justifications have not sat well with backbenchers in the Conservative Party. In addition to Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has described the PM’s change-of-mind as “very serious, dissatisfaction was expressed during an urgent question in the House of Commons last Wednesday.

Mark Francois MP described the decision as a “massive climbdown”, and asked the Business Secretary “what on earth are you playing at?

Nevertheless, other backbenchers such as Sir Bob Neill MP implied that he felt better able to support the Bill now.

[Rees-Mogg] believes the deadline would have “[made] Whitehall work”

Opposition parties have waded in with their criticisms of the government’s handling of the situation. The shadow Minister Justin Madders described the government as “arrogant, to think that they could keep to the original deadline.

In addition to his criticisms of Rishi Sunak, Rees-Mogg also pointed to issues in the civil service. He believes the deadline would have “[made] Whitehall work, and without it “nothing will happen and we will retain these EU laws for a long time.” He commented that the civil service are “not necessarily coming into the office” or “working with the efficiency one would like.

The head of the union representing civil servants (the FDA), Dave Penman, denied that this was the civil servants’ fault.

This issue has highlighted the current splits in the Conservative Party, in relation to how far we should diverge from the EU, and how fast.

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Jacob Diehl via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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